A Rainbow Haunt: Q

Rainbow Street in Amman is one of my favourites. Sometimes, it has a little bit of a “tourist trap” feel despite the fact that most people I see frequenting the many establishments that line the street are Jordanian. It feels a little bit like how Seminyak in Bali felt to me maybe 10 years ago. That’s why despite the many delicious little cafes and restaurants along the strip (Turtle Green, Strada, Esmat) I’m always a little reluctant to “pop in” and try a new Rainbow place without first researching and looking up reviews.

Q Restaurant is a place I had passed numerous times. The sign out front stating “Soup of the day: wine” always elicited a little giggle from me, but I never stepped in. Right next another restaurant that has a cardboard cutout of a king and queen (not the King and Queen of Jordan) kind of turned me off. Stupid, I know, to associate two completely different establishments that share only a wall. So like Wild Jordan, Q was a wonderful surprise (where I plan on taking my colleagues from work soon). Continue reading

Spring has turned the desert green

20160401_113645Friday mornings are kind of a ritual between Ahmad and I. We normally start with breakfast at Usra, our favourite little hummus place, before heading out for whatever it is we have planned. The last few weeks however, we have not been able to leave the city for various reasons from work to weather and illness.

Two weeks ago, Ahmad and I spotted a little place near Usra that we decided would be our next Friday breakfast. And try it we did. The place (in the picture on the left) is one of the cutest hummuseries I’ve seen in Amman so far, a tiny hole-in-the-wall with tables pressed along the walls of a narrow room that opens up a little more at the back. I had been really sick so I was starving for a good Jordanian breakfast.

Continue reading

Amman’s Gems: Wild Jordan Center

Last night while scanning the internet for a new Indian restaurant to try in Amman, I came across a Lonely Planet post saying: “Through no fault of its own, Amman has become the forgotten city of the Middle East. It is also the most underrated. The streets have ancient monuments and dusty history to rival Cairo, without the grinding traffic or pollution. Its suburbs have a vibrant restaurant and cultural scene to match neighbouring Beirut, but locals have kept it to themselves.”

This is so true. As time passes and I get to know the city a little better, I see that Amman has the thriving city-life that many other places have, but that it seems to be a well-kept secret that only those looking for these experiences find. From varied restaurants to comedy shows to concerts in the ancient Roman Theater (I hope to attend my first one end of April), Amman is home to a host of wonderful experiences. And although it is not a secret per say, Wild Jordan Center is among those many gems. Continue reading

On the Tourist Trail: Beit Sitti

We no longer have internet at home as we have apparently blown our way through 200gb in 3 weeks. The internet company told us the charge for internet per gig over our plan is 8 JD. To put that into perspective, we currently pay 38 JD per month for 200gb. Naturally, we refused.

So it is nearly two weeks later that I write about our experience taking a cooking class at Beit Sitti, something my flatmate and I had wanted to do for a little while. My flatmate’s friend from Germany offered us the opportunity as his way of saying “thank you” for letting him crash in our living room for a few days. It was very generous of him and I am very grateful. Continue reading

Tel Aviv with the family

Early in January, my family and I headed to Tel Aviv for a brief visit. In case it hasn’t yet been clear, I’m not crazy about the city but everyone else wanted to see what it was like and my mother had a good friend from her kibbutz days there that she wanted to see.

We arrived just before 3pm and checked into a hostel (prices are absurd in Tel Aviv) right in the city center before hopping into a cab, at my insistence, and heading to Abu Hassan in Jaffa for hummus and masabacha. The food, as always, was divine and I stumbled through my orders in elementary Arabic. My mother wasn’t crazy about the masabacha because for some reason she didn’t like the taste of too much tahini in humus. Continue reading

Christmas, Yad Vashem and Haram al-Sharif

Christmas morning we woke up and it was raining. It was also a Sunday and thus, most museums were closed (though Sunday isn’t a weekend here, this is similar to how museums in the West often close on Mondays).  After much deliberation, we chose the most cheerful place we could possibly go on a rainy Christmas Day, Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Museum), as it was one of the only places open.

We took the newly installed Jerusalem light rail, a 10 year construction project that runs from East to West and from West to East. Unsurprisingly, the construction of the rail, like much in Israel, was plagued by controversy as it passes through settlements in East Jerusalem as well as through Arab East Jerusalem. I also read an interesting Haaretz article about how the light rail served, in a way, as a connecting bridge between East and West, with the author observing Palestinian families who evidently didn’t often come into West Jerusalem take the train to the end of the line and then get straight back on a return train taking them back to the East, as if they were on a sort of sight-seeing venture.  Continue reading

Glorious Jerusalem, Holy Bethlehem

Jerusalem, glorious Jerusalem. By the time we got to Jerusalem, on the 23rd of December, it had been two weeks since I’d been in the city and boy, did I miss it! I had been driving my family nuts talking about all the wonderful things we could do there during our nine days in Jordan. Getting back to Jerusalem was like returning home.

We arrived late in the evening on Friday night and missed the welcoming of Shabbat at the Western Wall. Instead, we grabbed 7-shekel falafel at a stand across from the Damascus Gate and wandered through the Old City at night. My mother was amazed by the cleaning job that had been recently done on the walls and buildings, and my brother and father were astounded by the beauty of this living and breathing Old City. Continue reading